Thursday, December 22, 2016

Being black in the US

Contrary to O’Reilly’s fantasies about a modern and color-blind United States, evidence continues to mount that the system of oppression remains open for business. Witness a New York Times investigation spotlighting a massive discrepancy in how black inmates in New York state are treated vis-a-vis their white peers. Witness a stunning USA Today investigation showing that, in the words of the headline, “Black people are three times likelier to be killed in police chases.” Chilling: “Deadly pursuits of black drivers were twice as likely to start over minor offenses or non-violent crimes that posed little danger to the public until a police officer decided to give chase,” according to the USA Today article. Should O’Reilly need more information on this topic, he could always pull up the Justice Department’s damning and endless March 2015 Ferguson report. One passage:  Ferguson’s law enforcement practices overwhelmingly impact African Americans. Data collected by the Ferguson Police Department from 2012 to 2014 shows that African Americans account for 85% of vehicle stops, 90% of citations, and 93% of arrests made by FPD officers, despite comprising only 67% of Ferguson’s population. African Americans are more than twice as likely as white drivers to be searched during vehicle stops even after controlling for non-race based variables such as the reason the vehicle stop was initiated, but are found in possession of contraband 26% less often than white drivers, suggesting officers are impermissibly considering race as a factor when determining whether to search. African Americans are more likely to be cited and arrested following a stop regardless of why the stop was initiated and are more likely to receive multiple citations during a single incident. From 2012 to 2014, FPD issued four or more citations to African Americans on 73 occasions, but issued four or more citations to non-African Americans only twice. FPD appears to bring certain offenses almost exclusively against African Americans. For example, from 2011 to 2013, African Americans accounted for 95% of Manner of Walking in Roadway charges, and 94% of all Failure to Comply charges. Notably, with respect to speeding charges brought by FPD, the evidence shows not only that African Americans are represented at disproportionately high rates overall, but also that the disparate impact of FPD’s enforcement practices on African Americans is 48% larger when citations are issued not on the basis of radar or laser, but by some other method, such as the officer’s own visual assessment."